Note From Kalen: MoneyMiniBlog is dedicated to helping you become financially smarter and maximize your time. Today’s article, written by Jay, deals with both. Enjoy!

Having a proper side hustle can be a great way to make extra income and pursue something that you’re passionate about, or it can help you test out an industry before you take a job. However, you only have 24 hours in a day, so you need to fit this side hustle in along with your full time job, plus your family and social obligations.

To do this effectively, you need to have a predetermined schedule that works for you. You also need to maximize your free time and avoid interruptions while you’re working. Tax season comes every year so being prepared for it can help you save time. Lastly, know the goal of your side hustle so you stay motivated even during tough times.

Set a Schedule That Works for You

Everyone has different times of the day where they’re more productive than others. Some people operate best during the early morning hours, while others are night owls who come up with their best ideas in the middle of the night. Figure out when you’re most awake, feeling the most creative, and motivated and then schedule the most challenging work around those times.

It’s important to have your schedule in writing so you can glance at it to see what’s coming up next, and what you’ve already accomplished. When you’re able to mark things off your schedule as complete, you feel satisfied knowing you’re getting your work done and more likely to keep pushing forward. Being able to look at a calendar with an organized schedule can help you manage your time and prioritize projects with tight deadlines.

However, creating a calendar isn’t just helpful for your own work, it’s also a great tool to use when scheduling meetings with clients, prospective clients, and industry associates. Using an online calendar system can save you the time of going back and forth with someone else’s busy schedule. Instead, you can be working on your side hustle and making money while they schedule an appointment on your calendar that works for both of you.

Maximize Your Free Time

After you’ve set a schedule that optimizes your peak working hours, you should work on maximizing your free time. You don’t necessarily need more time, you just need the self-discipline to prioritize the time you do have. You may have a long commute to work, paid time off, free weekend evenings, or even an hour lunch break. The important thing is to use what time you do have available to keep making progress on your side hustle.

You can hone your industry knowledge during your work commute by listening to a podcast about the industry you’re embarking on, or by completing your sales reach outs. The important thing is to keep your side hustle in the forefront of your mind and whenever you have down time, just do something that moves the work forward.

Avoid Interruptions

After you’ve taken the time to make a schedule and maximize your free time, you don’t want it to go to waste with distractions. In today’s busy, vibrant world full of technology, it’s so easy to get distracted by phone notifications, emails, phone calls and social media but it’s important to fully focus on what you’re working on.  Let your brain focus on the task at hand so you do your best work.

Set specific times to attend to social media posts, reply to emails or whatever else distracts you. Instead of checking your phone every time a notification goes off, check it once every 2 hours and see how much more work you get accomplished. The more work you accomplish, the more money you have the potential to earn. Once you start treating time like money, you won’t allow interruptions to get you off task.

Save Time During Tax Season

One of the easiest time-wasters for side-hustlers to overlook is tax season. While your side hustle can enrich your life and pad your bank account, it can also make tax season more complicated, even if you have a tax preparer or CPA.

You can make it far easier and less time consuming by having your books in order and not combining business and personal funds. Get a business bank account and a business credit card, and sync them all up to a bookkeeping software that has time tracking and invoicing capabilities. Doing this will ensure you don’t mix business and personal funds which will make the income and expenses of your side hustle easy to figure out.

Know the Goals of Your Side Hustle

It’s great to be organized, have a schedule in place and be ready for tax time, but you still need to know the driving force behind your side hustle. You need to know the ‘why’ so you can focus on this when times get tough, your schedule books up, or you start to find yourself getting distracted.

Everyone’s ‘why’ is different but it’s generally the main reason for wanting to schedule time for a side hustle. It can be something general, like to make extra money to support your family. It can also be more specific and include things like saving up for a downpayment on a house, buying a new car, or funding your dream island vacation.

The goal of your side hustle may not be monetarily related, and instead might be to pursue a passion project, improve a set of skills, or try out a new industry before committing to it full time. Whatever the reason, just keep in mind why you started your side hustle and what you want to get out of it. This will help you stay focused and keep going when it gets tough.

Bottom Line

Pursue your side hustle, enjoy it, and make sure you have an organized schedule and calendar. Schedule as much as you can around your peak working hours, and maximize your free time. Remember to keep your side hustle funds separate to save yourself time and money during tax time. Lastly, know why you’re doing your side hustle and keep that reason in mind when you get busy or overwhelmed.

About the Author:
Jay Egger is a digital marketing strategist at Fit Small Business who has extensive experience in writing, journalism, marketing, public relations and more.